Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular walk
This walk follows the Sussex Border path to Bewl Water, then follows its banks back to Wadhurst for tea. Gentle gradients but never flat.
Main walk: 17km (10.6 miles)
Short walk: 12.9km (8 miles)
Long walk: 19.6km (12.2 miles)
Figure of eight walk: 17.6km (10.9 miles) or 20.3km (12.6 miles)
All walks 1km (0.6 miles) shorter with main road ending, and 3.2km (2 miles) shorter if you get a bus from Wadhurst village.
5 out of 10
|OS Maps||Explorer 136, Landranger 188|
The area around Wadhurst is one of the prettiest parts of the Weald – a place of hidden valleys, ancient woods, and quaint old farms which feel far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. This walk gives you a perfect introduction to it. Starting at Wadhurst station, it follows the Sussex Border Path to lunch at a pub in Cousley Wood, and then descends with fine panoramic views to Bewl Water Reservoir, whose shore is open and unfenced unlike many other reservoirs, and which makes a fine spot to while away some time on a sunny day.
You then have a choice of whether you do a shorter or longer exploration of the shores of the reservoir (see Walk Options below) before climbing up to the hilltop village of Wadhurst, a classic Wealden settlement, where you can have tea in one of its cafes (Monday to Saturday), or in one of its two pubs.
After tea you can choose between a direct route to the station down the main road (but with a pavement all the way), or a quiet walk along the back lanes. It is 3.2km (2 miles) from Wadhurst to the station via the back lanes and it is probably best to allow at least an hour for this. For the shorter 2.2km (1.4 miles) by the main road, allow 40 minutes.
The walk starts and ends at Wadhurst station on the Hastings Line, served by trains from Charing Cross via London Bridge. Take the train nearest to 10.10am from London to get to lunch in time.
On Mondays to Saturdays you can shorten any of the walks by 3.2km (2 miles) by taking the 254 bus from Wadhurst village (the stop just outside the Greyhound pub, on the same side of the road) to Wadhurst station. Buses go roughly on the hour until 6pm. If you are heading for London it may make sense to stay on the bus to Tunbridge Wells station (about 20 minutes after Wadhurst) which has a much more frequent train service.
The Old Vine, Cousley Wood (01892 784467 or 783666), 5.3km (3.3 miles) into the main, short and long walks is the only lunch option. A pleasant and characterful pub, it serves "pub grub done properly" all day daily.
Tea options are all in Wadhurst, which is 13.8 (8.6 miles) into the main walk, 9.8km (6.1 miles) into the short walk and 16.4km (10.2 miles) into the long walk. The best place currently seems to be The Artful Grocers, a food store with a cafe attached, which is open till 5pm Monday to Saturday. In November 2021 there was also a new cafe/wine bar called Le Petit Paris open to 5pm Monday to Saturday, but "experimenting with evening opening". Otherwise the Piccolo cafe closes disappointingly early at 4pm Monday to Saturday (turning into an evening pizzeria from 5.30pm Thursday to Saturday), while the cafe in the Wealden Wholefoods store, a former favourite, now only opens until 1.30pm.
Wadhurst also has an excellent supermarket, Jempsons, open until 8pm Monday to Saturday and serving hot drinks, pastries and hot snacks: the One Shop convenience store nearby is open until 10pm daily. Of the two pubs in the village, the White Hart is the more trendy one, with a gastro menu, while the Greyhound is a more traditional pub. Both are open all afternoon and serve tea in pots, and the Greyhound has a large (but well-hidden) garden that can be very pleasant in summer.
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Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk